Take Five With Sean Nowell
"Tenor saxophonist/composer Sean Nowell fuses introspective melodies, darkly hued harmonies and angular rhythmic structures to create a sound that has succeeded at melding, morphing and mixing the best of Blue Note-era small group nirvana with the Headhunters' pocket and vibe, evolving it to Right Now."
Your teaching approach:
Fun. Interactive. Personalized. Classical duets. Learning scales by improvising and composing. Playing solo transcriptions slowly and listening to the recordings closely.
Your dream band:
I only work with people that I would want to be in a van for 8 hours with.
They've gotta be fun to hang with and enthusiastic about the music.
I love playing with my friends that I play with now.
Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Worst: Got punched in the mouth in Bulgaria by a mobster for playing in a forest 60 yards away from the hotel at the Black Sea during quiet hours (2-4pm).
Best: Playing for 30,000 people on the main stage of the Montreal Jazz Festival 2008 with the Bjorkestra.
The 55 Bar is my home.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
The first Jazz album I bought was:
I was at jazz camp at Loyola, New Orleans and they told me to immediately get Kind of Blue and Giant Steps, still two of the freshest albums I own. Truly the gift that keeps on giving.
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
A good, fun attitude toward all this. If we are having a good time, everyone else will as well.
Did you know...
I almost became a Southern Baptist music Minister.
CDs you are listening to now:
John Coltrane, "Liberia" (just the one song, over and over).
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Inclusive. Forward thinking. Open minded. Supercharged. At least that's the circles I run in....
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Being inclusive, forward thinking, open minded, and supercharged!
What is in the near future?
I'm loving playing music here in NYC and hanging with my fantastic Broadway Musical Theater actress wife and our friends and teaching my enthusiastic and talented students. Also I'm working on finally getting some dates in Europe with various bands.
Life is good!
I teach one-on-one, in-home private students three days a week and am loving it.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
A psychologist or a ninja.